Meals on Wheels continues to roll in Runnels County making sure clients have a hot lunch five days a week.

Meals on Wheels continues to roll in Runnels County making sure clients have a hot lunch five days a week.

Meals on Wheels Plus was named Business of the Month by the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce for May.

Each month, the Ballinger Chamber of Commerce board draws the name of a member, who is then given the distinction of Business of the Month. The honor, bestowed upon the business by Tammie Virden, executive director of the chamber, includes the placement of banners and extra attention on social media throughout the month.

In October of 2016, Meals on Wheels Plus began providing home delivered meals to clients in Ballinger, Winters and Rowena and Meals For The Elderly began serving clients in Miles.

Runnels County Judge Barry Hilliard, who led the charge to find a program that could fit the needs of Runnels County citizens, said it has gone well, since the county opted out and Meals on Wheels stepped in.

Meals on Wheels Plus took over the program after the county commissioners voted to discontinue the longtime lunch program, which was costing the county more than $200,000 annually to provide to clients throughout Runnels County.

Betty Bradley, executive director of Meals on Wheels Plus said the organization welcomed the opportunity to serve Runnels County.

“We are honored to have been invited to serve meals into Runnels County and deeply appreciate everyone who supports our efforts in any way,” Bradley said. “From 9th Street Church of Christ who provides free office space, and a pick up point for the meals, to the volunteers who drive to Winters every week day to pick up the meals for delivery into the Ballinger area,” Bradley said. “The volunteers who deliver the meals to the client’s homes each day and also check to make sure they are okay. The individuals, businesses and groups who support Meals on Wheels financially play a most important role in the success of the service.”

Betty Bradley, executive director of Meals on Wheels Plus, has championed the organization and makes sure that everyone who needs a hot lunch, gets one. But the challenge, to keep what she calls a “ministry,” continues, with ever-present funding challenges.

In the beginning, Meals on Wheels served about 65 clients - today that has grown to 147 clients who are enrolled in Ballinger, Winters, Pumphrey, Rowena and Norton.

There are currently 71 clients being served on the Ballinger routes, which includes 62 clients in Ballinger, seven in Rowena and two in Norton.

“We serve people age 60 and older, as well as adults age 18 to 65 who have one or more disabilities,” Bradley explained. “There must be a need for the meals. We serve people regardless of their income. Most people receive the meals free but those who are able to make a contribution to help with the cost of the meals are asked to do so.”

The meals are freshly prepared daily and each day, clients have a choice of two entrees such as Chicken Parmesan and pasta or Turkey sausage with peppers or chicken or a choice between Spaghetti and meatballs or a choice between Mongolian beef or Grilled Moroccan Chicken.

Bradley thanked the administrators and case managers Gene Roggenkamp in Ballinger and Lupe Vasquez in Winters, who make home visits and coordinate volunteers for the area.

Anyone interested in receiving meals or knows someone who could benefit from having a balanced meal delivered Monday through Friday can call Meals on Wheels Plus in Abilene at 325-672-5050. Contact Gene Roggenkamp at 325-280-0042 for meals to be delivered in Ballinger. For Winters meal delivery contact Lupe Vazquez who coordinates Winters and Pumphrey at 325-665-9341.